AireSpring, one of the fastest growing telecommunications carriers in the USA, has quickly emerged as a full service communications company offering a broad range of products. However, just 10 years ago, the founders were operating AireSpring out of two rooms in their family home.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 10 years,” Daniel Lonstein, chief operating officer and co-founder of AireSpring told TMCnet in a recent interview. “Some people say they start a business in the garage. Well, it wasn’t in the garage, but we were right next to the garage.”
Lonstein founded AireSpring – along with his two brothers and his father – 10 years ago out of his parent’s home. The family had the idea to form a wireless data company and soon became the first company to resell air time and develop applications for the RIM/BlackBerry (News - Alert) operating system.
However, people were not yet ready for that type of phone service, according to Lonstein.
“After about six to eight months of doing that, we saw that it was too early on,” he said. “We had conversations with people in those days and we would say, ‘You can get your email on this device even when you are away from the office,’ and people would say, ‘I don’t need my email on my phone.’ We were too early on in the lifecycle of consumer awareness.”
Accordingly, the family switched modes and went back to the wireline business and based AireSpring off of a company they had previously owned called Addtel.
“We sort of, by default, got back into that business because that was a business we knew,” Lonstein said. “The best thing an entrepreneur can do is be able and willing to change their business plan in mid-stream, because nothing ever works out exactly the way you thought it would.”
10 years later AireSpring has found its groove and has quickly emerged as an IP communications leader.
When asked about some of AireSpring’s biggest accomplishments so far, Lonstein said it would be the fact that the company has emerged as a facilities-based carrier.
“When we got into the wireline business we started as a reseller without our own network,” he said. “About four or five years ago, we saw the future of IP voice and SIP and we started putting in our own SIP network and, at this point, the vast majority of our customers that we sell to are on our own network. We’ve made a huge shift from being a reseller to being a facilities-based carrier in the next generation IP space; that’s probably one of the biggest achievements for us.”
Moreover, the company has expanded from serving several hundreds of customers to tens of thousands of customers. In addition, the customer base has shifted from just small and medium sized businesses to multilocation enterprise customers both for voice and data services.
So what can we expect from AireSpring in the next 10 years? The continuation of stellar customer service, among other things.
“I think we’ve really been able to instill in our employees our vision which is that we try and do our best to take care of our customers,” Lonstein said. “We are certainly not perfect and, as everyone knows in the telecom world, things don’t always go the way you planned. But the difference between us and a lot of the large carriers is how do we deal with things, what care do we take and how do our people make the extra effort when things don’t go as planned.”
“We as senior management and the owners get involved every day with the customers – end users, small customers, big customers,” he added. “It’s a matter of really caring at the management level and I believe we have instilled that in our staff.”